Savage Steve Holland, the director whose deliriously cartoonish portrayals of high school life made him an ’80s cult favorite, moved onto young adulthood with this farce about the horrors of the college-application process. Alas, John Cusack, star of Holland’s Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer, isn’t on hand this time. Instead, he has Anthony Edwards (then best known for Revenge of the Nerds) as a sympathetic college recruiter and Corey Parker (a fourth-generation Xerox of Matthew Broderick – he’s not quite Jonathan Silverman, who’s not quite Jon Cryer, who’s not quite Broderick).
Parker plays Marlon, a senior with a modest transcript who’s trying to get into a small Pennsylvania liberal-arts college in order to follow his dream girl, high-strung overachiever Jessica (Lara Flynn Boyle, in one of her earliest roles). The movie gets right the whole fraught process, from test prep courses to college recruiting fairs to the dreaded SATs (Holland hilariously dramatizes the word problems with reenactments). The result isn’t as absurdly hilarious as Holland’s earlier films, but anyone who’s been through the application wringer, as a senior or a parent, will get a rueful chuckle out of the film.